Lafayette Parish librarian who spoke against censorship of LGBTQ books may be fired Monday | news

A Lafayette Parish library branch manager who has spoken against censorship at board meetings may be in jeopardy of losing her job.

The Library Board of Control is to hold a special meeting Monday evening with an executive session to evaluate Library Director Danny Gillane, who was appointed director in June 2021, and to discuss and evaluate the employment of Cara Chance, the manager of the North Regional Library branch in Carencro.

Chance has been one of few library employees to speak out against efforts to ban books and restrict book displays in the public library system.

Gillane, who is out of town on vacation, replaced Teresa Elberson, who retired in January 2021 under pressure from the board, which has become progressively more conservative.

Chance was apparently advised in a letter she received Friday from Library Board President Robert Judge that her employment would be discussed in a closed session at Monday’s meeting at 5:15 pm at the South Regional Library on Johnston Street at South City Parkway.

Her notification came a few hours before distribution of the meeting notice and agenda Friday afternoon, just in time to comply with Louisiana’s open meetings law which requires notice “no later than twenty-four hours, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, before the meeting.”







Lafayette public library director Danny Gillane, left, speaks with library board President Robert Judge, June 9, 2021, in Lafayette, Louisiana.




Gillane said Saturday he first heard about an executive session at the June board meeting and was told it was for his annual evaluation. His vacation was planned prior to that announcement. Board members did not tell him anything about Chance being on the agenda, he said.

The board did not ask Gillane to discipline Chance, he said, and he did not ask you to discipline her.

“This board has never actually asked me to do anything with regard to day-to-day operation of the library,” Gillane said.

Gillane is an at-will employee hired by the board. He can be fired by the board.

Louisiana Revised Statute 25:215 states that the board of control shall have authority to “employ a librarian, and, upon the recommendation and approval of the latter, to employee assistant librarians and other employees,” according to the library website.

Chance is a civil service employee under Lafayette Consolidated Government. Gillane said if he wanted to fire an employee he would have to go through LCG’s human resources department. It’s unknown if the library board has done so.

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Rule IX, Section 1.2 of LCG’s civil service rules states the “appointing authority” of an employee may take disciplinary action for any of a list of reasons, including:

  • Unwillingness or failure to perform the assigned duties in a satisfactory manner.
  • Deliberate omission of an act that it was his duty to perform.
  • Commission of an act or acts detrimental to the public interest or to the classified service.
  • Insubordination.
  • Wantonly offensive or discourteous conduct toward the public, employees, elected officials or anyone else including any dishonest, disgraceful, immoral or harmful behavior.
  • Conduct unbecoming of an employee of the classified service that would bring discredit, public embarrassment or impair the efficient operation of LCG.
  • Any act or failure to act that the Board accepts as sufficient to show the offender is unfit or unsuitable for employment in the classified service.

Civil service rules state the appointing authority “shall take appropriate corrective and progressive actions to maintain standards of service by employees subject to these rules.”

Disciplinary action may include:

  • Termination of employment.
  • Demotion.
  • Suspension without pay not to exceed 30 days in a calendar year.
  • Temporary reduction in pay of 5% not to exceed five pay periods.
  • Written reprimand.

If the library board votes to discipline Chance, she has the right to appeal to the civil service board.

At a November meeting when the board considered banning “This Book is Gay” at the request of a patron, Chance asked board members who they think they are to deny taxpayers with different moral values ​​the right to resources they and their children may want.

“These are the people we serve. We don’t serve the board,” Chance said. “We serve the public and the public is made up of a lot of different individuals with a lot of different stories. Who are you to try to drown them out?”

The board voted not to ban the book because Gillane had already decided to relocate all teen nonfiction books to the adult nonfiction section.

The most recent time Chance spoke out was at the board’s June 22 meeting, the first meeting after Gillane informed library managers they were not allowed to create LGBTQ book displays for Pride month. He said the decision was his, not his board’s.

Chance put up a three-sided teen romance book display in June. One side was regular teen romance books, the second was teen romances made into movie and the third was teen LGBTQ romance books. The section wasn’t labeled, but a light-up rainbow marked the section which contained books like “Lawn Boy” and “Princess Princess Ever After.”

At the June 23 board meeting about book displays, Chance said, “If board members individually want to tell LGBTQ residents they’re different or need to be hidden away, “that discrimination rests squarely on your shoulders,” Chance said. But they will not, acting as board members, place that on her, she said.

“If you as a board member attempt to institutionalize that disdain and discrimination in a government entity like a library,” Chance said, “then it carries the weight and voice of every citizen in the parish.”

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